Updated: Saturday, 12:09 p.m.
To nobody’s surprise, Kobe Bryant has been elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett were also elected.
Bryant died on Jan. 26 at 41 years old in a helicopter crash that also took the lives of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
A five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star, Bryant is one of the best players ever born in the city of Philadelphia. He spent much of his childhood in Italy to follow the basketball career of his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, then returned to the Philadelphia area. Bryant starred at Lower Merion High School, winning the PIAA Class 4A state championship in 1996 and declaring for the NBA draft.
In 20 seasons with the Lakers, Bryant was named to the All-Defensive First Team on nine occasions, won two Finals MVPs and led the league in scoring twice. One of his five NBA titles came in 2001 against the Sixers as he averaged 24.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists in the Lakers’ five-game series victory. This year, commissioner Adam Silver decided to permanently name the All-Star Game MVP award after Bryant, who earned that honor four times, tied with Bob Pettit for the most ever.
Bryant became known for his ruthless competitiveness, his basketball savvy and his apparently limitless self-belief. Tightly contested, long, fading two-point shots are not currently popular in the NBA, but they’ll always be associated with Bryant.
“The Big Fundamental” (Duncan) and “The Big Ticket” (Garnett) are two of the all-time great power forwards. Duncan won five championships and two MVP awards with the Spurs, while Garnett took home MVP honors in 2004 and won the NBA title in 2008 after being traded from the Timberwolves to the Celtics. Both players were selected to 15 All-Star games. Like Bryant, Garnett entered the NBA directly from high school.
Tamika Catchings, a 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist, has been elected as well. Rudy Tomjanovich, Eddie Sutton, Kim Mulkey and Barbara Stevens have been elected as coaches, while Patrick Baumann was elected posthumously as a contributor.
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